All IITs in India are the same

Maybe you like to watch a bit of Bollywood here and there, have seen “Slumdog Millionär” in the cinema - but that's probably what we know about India. Very few have any further impressions of the life of Indians. India is not a typical tourist country. Only a few vacationers try a little New Delhi, maybe Mumbai too. We are put off by India - that is how it is. Not only through the images of crowds in a confined space, poverty, dirt - it is also the headlines that we get imported from India time and again, Headlines about rape and inhumane working conditions.

Vacation in India - a field report

The tourists who get lost in India do not take their suitcases - they are backpackers, adventurers, people who are not influenced by TV pictures and a bad mood, people who authentic side of a country, not wanting to get to know its artificial, its prepared side. People like Gesine. The German speech therapist and body painting artist has already traveled through India five times - for several months each time. “India is absolutely fascinating, the culture and the people are wonderful.” In 2010 Gesine traveled to India for the last time. She was held at the airport for three days with no food or water. “No, I would never go to India again. I've seen enough, absolutely Great and insanely terrible, I think that's enough now. "

India unites the most terrible and the most beautiful at the same time

Gesine tells me about experiences that give goose bumps even at a distance of 9,650 km. “I imagined it to be even harder, even worse.” Gesine saw someone die. Not just like that. "A fountain of blood shot from his mouth. Everyone just looked after the cows, and he just lay there. ”Gesine narrowly escaped rape. “I was just out on the bus for several hours. If at some point there is a short stop, you have to run to the toilet immediately, otherwise the bus will just keep going. Out of nowhere in the toilet, a man pressed against me with all violence. I immediately started beating him. Luckily it hit an edge and I was able to run away. "

"Something good always comes after something bad!"

Gesine had quite a few negative experiences. “But I was always compensated with totally positive and wonderful experiences. That is always balanced in India - something bad always comes with something good. ”But does it always have to be so scary? “We arrived in Goa sometime in the middle of the night - the only city in India where alcohol can be served. And we just couldn't find a hotel. Then came there this guy on the scooter and wanted to show us a hotel out of town. My girlfriend was absolutely thrilled and sat right on the scooter. It was all pretty scary to me, but good ... We drove out of town and into the middle of a jungle. It was pitch black, there was no house far and wide, nothing. I said to my friend: 'Leonie, we are dying now.' We were terrified as hell, we knew that he was going to rape and kill us here. After an hour, a hotel actually appeared, out of nowhere. We drove through the jungle for an hour and then he actually dropped us off at a hotel and then just drove away. He was former policeman and didn't want to let us walk around alone. The next day he was back in front of the hotel and drove us back to town. That was absolute madness. "

When Indians meet white people

Gesine was drawn to India again and again. She traveled the country five times, always without a plan, without fear. “India is a spectacular country. The culture is fascinating, the nature mega, the Himalayas, the beaches, the desert. With small budget you can see everything here, and you experience things that shape you. Break out of luxury with a bucket as a shower - that is also possible. You learn to appreciate the little things again here. And the people, they are super nice and friendly, at least most of them, ”laughs Gesine. The encounter between Indians and Western tourists is something, let's say strange, also frightening and really crazy. “You have to understand that most Indians rarely see a white person. They stare at you so forcefully, you can't even imagine that. They don't look away anymore, they stand next to you for two hours. When I stepped out of a building, all eyes went straight to me. When I open my bag, everyone comes up to me and wants to look into the bag - really, they'll rummage in my bag! Nothing was ever stolen from me - when I once left my entire backpack somewhere, with everything in it - so at least a value of two months' wages for most of them - an hour later it was still right there. Indians don't mean that badly either, but people stare at them all the time. ”Even when Gesine was traveling in India with her boyfriend at the time, men approached her. "They don't hurt you, but it doesn't hurt to ask." Her boyfriend also found the constant stare very creepy. "He didn't go to the toilet anywhere, he told me: 'They're all staring at my thing'.“


By bus & train through India - Destination: Unkown

Gesine never had a route or a precise plan on any of her trips. “I always have that Lonely Planet there you can find the most popular travel routes - but mostly I just land at an airport and then see what happens. ”Gesine would never drive through India herself. "They only brake for cows. Even crossing the street is insane. The only rule is: honk and speed. ”You can easily travel all over India by train, but especially by bus - the only question is how, when and whether you get anywhere at all. “Getting around by train in India is really easy. We always drove nice wood class. I once sat for 14 hours up in a luggage rack on one buttock with your foot on the ceiling. ”The bus network is also well developed - the floor coverings, on the other hand, less so. “Bus trips are an absolute adventure. It gets deafening Bollywood music and the streets have one curve after another. Everyone pukes here. It is especially nice when you sit in the back. At the front they puke out of the bus and everything comes back in again. I once thought: 'Oh, is it starting to rain?' And it was puke that flew through my window. ”But if you still have time to concentrate on other things,“ you can go anywhere Car and bus wrecks Seeing lying down - that is quite normal here ”.

Cheap accommodation including cockroaches - "You shouldn't think about that!"

When it comes to accommodations, Gesine's experiences sound quite humane. “You can get very cheap and reasonably good accommodations get between € 1.50 and € 5. I always had my own sleeping bag with me, you don't necessarily want to sleep on the covers. "When I asked about crawling animals, Gesine replied succinctly:" Yes, There are cockroaches everywhere - but they don't hurt you. When I was working in the children's home there was one cobrawho slept under the stairs during the day. At night we always trampled on the steps until she ran away - you shouldn't think about that. ”Gesine swears by a mosquito net to protect herself from the worst.

The most beautiful corners of India

India is not a tourist country. Nonetheless, you can also take a beach holiday here, in 5 star hotels reside and immediately disappear from paradise on the plane, but: "In India you can't avoid seeing India," says Gesine. "Anyone who travels to India wants to get to know the country and the people, so it is part of seeing the slums and the poverty." Nevertheless, it is above all the extraordinary nature and the special people that have drawn Gesine to India again and again . The most beautiful place in India?Kerala in the southwest of India is beautiful, there are miles of mangrove forests. And there's a little mountain village near Mumbai Matheran. Plastic waste is completely forbidden here and cars are not allowed to drive here either - that is almost the only quiet spot in India. "

An experience that has fascinated Gesine most to this day: “In the north of India I went on a three-day camel tour through the desert. At night we have slept next to the camels in the sand. This starry sky was unbelievable. ”At the beginning Gesine and her camel didn't get along very well…“ When I got on the camel, it just started running, the whole time further, further and further away from the others. I just yelled how to ride it and the guide just said ’no problem, no problem’. After a few minutes it turned around again - that was quite adventurous. "

"I would never go to India again!"

“I've always felt safe in India. If you are reasonably cautious and confident, India is not a problem at all, ”says Gesine. They stare at you penetratingly, but Indians are still super friendly, confirms Gesine. “In tourist areas, western tourists are often seen as a source of money, but as soon as you are out and about, the people are wonderful. When I got on a bus, I was first asked where I was going and then someone from the other people asked who was also going there so that I could get there safely. ”In small villages, most people have never seen a white person , “They are really happy, you will invited anywhere in the house, for drinking and eating, ”says Gesine. “It's such an experience for them, because they'll tell their grandchildren about it.” The key to mutual interest is culture. “When you show people that you can Interest in culture then they are happy and absolutely open-minded.

It is easy for Gesine to differentiate the beautiful experiences in India from the negative ones. Nonetheless, an event on her last trip led Gesine to say today: "I would never go to India again!“It was the day of her departure back to Germany. “We were in Mumbai at the airport where our plane was supposed to go. At the time there was a volcanic eruption in Iceland and you couldn't fly back to Germany - but we didn't know that. We checked in and then waited in the entrance area until we were told that our plane would not go - the next one for a few days. We wanted to go back to town, but they did Security men didn't let us out of the airport building. Nobody spoke English either and they were immediately aggressive with their machine guns. We were held there for three days. We got no water, no food. Some people gave us a little, but it wasn't a lot. There was no international phone so we couldn't tell anyone at home. My boyfriend urgently needed medicine, it was already used up, but we were simply not let out. On the third day, when we were completely finished, we just got up and started running. We screamed, 'Just shoot me' - we didn't care - we just wanted out. I have a real trauma of that, I would never go to an Indian airport again, but actually never travel through India again. I've already seen so much, experienced so much, which has shaped me to this day and now it's good too - there are other countries on earth as well. "

Would India be a destination for you?

Traveling around India is certainly not a good idea for everyone. There are some character traits that you should bring with you, some rules that you should adhere to. That's why Gesine gives a few Tips, what type of person India should face and what needs to be considered.

Are you the type for india?

  • very confident
  • Being able to set limits, especially towards men
  • Have strength to see terrible poverty and suffering too
  • to be flexible
  • Don't let bad experiences get you down
  • Interest in Indian culture

You should follow these rules:

  • Accompaniment: it is best to travel in pairs
  • Transport: don't drive a car
  • Streets: stay away from streets as much as possible - if you want to survive
  • Food: You can eat anything, including from the street stalls - but where most of the people are, it's guaranteed to be best
  • Covered clothing: shoulders and knees should always be covered, preferably what the locals wear
  • Cash: do not carry more than € 100 with you
  • Indian men: When talking to men, say straight away that your husband is back there

The most important things in your backpack:

  • toilet paper
  • Mosquito spray
  • Mosquito net
  • Sleeping bag

Have you ever traveled through India? Can you confirm Gesine's experiences? If you have now got the urge to travel and you feel prepared, you can take a look at my offers and find the perfect India vacation for you.

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